The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town
The Quest took me a few miles north of U.S. Route 30 to the “out of the way” county seat of McConnellsburg in Fulton County. This sparsily populated tiny county on the Maryland border was created April 19, 1850, from part of Bedford County and named for inventor Robert Fulton. Fulton was born on a farm in Little Britain in Lancaster County which of course is why Fulton County is named for him. (It made sense to someone!) He also appears on a stamp!
Most of you know that Fulton invented the steam ship. But, did you know that in 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the Nautilus, which was the first practical submarine in history? He is also credited with inventing some of the world’s earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Royal Navy (maybe the Brits needed a weapon to sink an ememy submarine?). Robert appears to be a pretty shrewd businessman as well as an inventor!
On June 29, 1863 McConnellsburg experienced its fifteen minutes of fame. This is the day that the Union and Confederate troops first met for what would be the battle of Gettysburg . Confederate Captain W. D. Ervin leading Company G Virginia Cavalry and Union Captain Abram Jones leading Company A 1st New York Cavalry met in a skirmish at the square of McConnellsburg resulting in the first Confederate causalities of the Gettysburg campaign. William B. Moore and Thomas Shelton were buried by the townspeople in McConnellsburg after the battle.
Since that event McConnellsburg has remained a quiet village nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I doubt my visit to town created a blip on the excitement scale. The courthouse is situated behind a gorgeous rose garden. Someone has a really green thumb!
I found Johnnie’s Diner, which is part of Johnnie’s Motel sitting across the street from Sheetz and McDonalds. Sheetz looked like the happening place in town with a continual flow of traffic in and out of the place.
Johnnie’s on the other hand was a little bastion of a time past, sort of like Mel’s Dinner in “Happy Days” only with an older crowd. Jess (not part of the older crowd) greeted me and allowed me to sit anywhere! While I was waiting for my food one of the booths near me filled with four fisherman. They must have been regulars because I never heard them order but Jess brought drinks to them while they talked about the mornings fishing escapades.
Jess was a bright and pleasant gal who received the stranger in her midst with ease. After learning she was born and raised in McConnellsburg I asked her if she hunted and fished. Her reply, with a giggle was, “My father did but I guess I am an inside girl.” Well, whereever she chooses to hangout she is a precious young lady and I’m glad I met her.
See you next time.